Spanning just over a decade with 22 movies to boot, the first three phases of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe came to a close with Avengers: Endgame and boy what a ride it has been. Throughout that period, we cheered for, laughed at and cried alongside our favourite superheroes thanks to Marvel’s dedication in fleshing out characters previously constrained to print – and several rancid life-action adaptations – until Robert Downey Jr, as Tony Stark suited up in his Mark 1 armour in 2008’s Iron Man.
While some may refer Avengers: Endgame as the conclusion of Infinity War, I see it more of a conclusion to all 21 prior movies put together. However, a solid case can be made that Avengers: Infinity War was the appetizer, and that Endgame was the wholesome and filling main course with a good dose of desserts for good measure.
But we ain’t here to talk about the Endgame. You can head over to our official review of it here if you’re looking that sort of thing. This piece is to discuss what’s next for the MCU and where we see the franchise in years to come. But before we head any further, allow us to lay out the customary spoiler warning and buffer in case you missed out on the title of this piece in the first place.
SPOILER TERRITORY UP AHEAD.
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. THERE’S NO TURNING BACK…
We cool? Awesome. Let’s go!
Spinning the Web
The ending of Avengers: Endgame not only provided closure to many of our favourite superheroes, but it also started the weave of an intricate web of what’s next for the MCU. Understandably, those who perished during the decimation didn’t feel any loss in time so theoretically are able to resume life right where they left off.
However, how people cope with the established five-year gap is something that will be explored in the most immediate MCU movie after Endgame which also happens to be the final movie Phase 3, Spider-Man: Far From Home.
Far From Home, as the title suggests, sees Peter Parker embark on a school trip to Italy. Anyone here realize all these major events always coincide with Peter’s school trip? The Vulture’s attack at the Washington Monument, followed by Ebony Maw and Cull Obsidian’s arrival in New York?
Anyway, expect Far From Home to be more than just a Spider-Man movie, but as a bridge to the next phase of MCU – one that would include a fresh, youthful look to the Avengers.
Mirroring what took place in the comics, old-man Steve Rogers passes the Captain America
torch shield to Sam Wilson a.k.a Falcon – a move which technically puts him as the next leader of the Avengers.
Many viewers were left scratching their noggin at the end of the show – where did he go? Well before he took off to the past to return the Infinity Stones to their rightful location in time, we heard Banner/ Hulk saying something along the lines of ‘For us, five seconds. For him, as long as he wants’.
Our guess was that Steve completed the said mission by returning to 1970 where him and Tony stole the Tesseract earlier, and decided to remain there to live a long wholesome life with Peggy Carter in secrecy. The main giveaway was the ring on Steve’s finger which was seen briefly when he gave away the shield to Sam.
Steve only returned to the present day presumably following Peggy’s death or to coincide with that particular timeline’s Steve Rogers waking up from the ice, possibly to avoid any time travel paradox.
With Hawkeye resuming his retirement, Hulk being pretty much out of the front-lines, and Thor gallivanting across the cosmos with the Guardians, the first few movies in Phase 4 should see Sam’s resolve and leadership of the New Avengers being put through the meat grinder – a task made harder by the plucky new team under his wing.
The All-New Avengers
With MCU’s bold decision in essentially wiping the slate clean at the end of Endgame, it’s pretty much a no brainer to see Peter Parker being joined by a new breed of eager superheroes keen to emulate and surpass the original Avengers.
Expect to see the silver screen rendition of Miss Marvel in Kamala Khan, Amadeus Cho, and even Nova, operating under Sam’s supervision.
A curious addition to Endgame which may have eluded many would be Ty Simpkins’ character, Harley Keener who was last seen in Iron Man 3. To jog your memory, he’s the kid who helped Tony repair his MKXLII armor in the garage. His inclusion in the final scenes of Endgame (during Tony’s memorial service) may allude to him taking up the mantle of Iron Man sometime in the future.
Other notable additions to this new breed of Avengers would be Clint Barton’s daughter who will take up the Hawkeye name and fan favourite, Shuri.
The Focus on New Acquisitions
With Disney’s recent acquisition of Fox comes a slew of IPs that not just can, but should be integrated into the MCU. How these new characters are to be slotted in is anyone’s guess but our top pick would be for Feige & Co to cast their crosshairs onto the Fantastic Four. If Marvel wants to temporarily take the focus away from the Avengers, citing the fear of Avenger fatigue, diverting the attention to the Marvel First Family would be the perfect move.
Thereon, the Fantastic Four can head many directions – to either team up with the Avengers, head to space to partner up with the Guardians against Galactus or even kick-off a Doctor Doom arc. The possibilities are endless.
Back to Familiar Grounds
While we’d assume everything’s dandy following the successful return of the stones to the past, one thing may have slipped past most of our radars. The 2012 past shown in Endgame sees the Tesseract remain in Loki’s possession, instead of S.H.I.E.L.D’s. Remember, the Tesseract which Steve returned was to 1970 – not 2012. In that ‘new’ 2012 reality, who knows how different things have changed.
Could this be the loophole to allow the reemergence (or even recast) of our favorite Avengers in an alternate timeline? One which sees Loki running havoc with the Tesseract – possibly being an even bigger threat than he was in the ‘canon’ MCU timeline?
Black Widow Conundrum
Lastly, we need to talk about Black Widow. It has been confirmed that a standalone Black Widow movie is in the works. But which timeline will it be set in? We know it won’t be part of Phase 3 – this phase closes with Far From Home. Black Widow’s standalone will be the movie to kick-off Phase 4 which leads to our crazy theory below.
We believe that if it’s set under this ‘canon’ MCU timeline which culminated with her tragic death in Vormir, it’d be quite the mood dampener. It would undervalue Natasha’s sacrifice for the Soul Stone although a storyline which revolve around her first encounter with the Winter Soldier as shared in Captain America: Winter Soldier would be interesting.
Other possible directions could either be her mission to track down Loki in the earlier mentioned alternate timeline, or a buildup for her character just prior to Infinity War and/or End Game.
What do you think is going to happen next? Or even better – where do you want Marvel to take our favourite heroes to? Sound off in the comments section below, or if you have any cool theories coming out of Endgame, fire away. This is a spoiler post anyway.